2012-02-17 / Community

KAPPA VI Gets $100,000 Grant

By Howard Schwach

Two public schools in the city, including one housed inside the old Far Rockaway High School campus, are finding out what it’s like to have an extra $100,000 to spend thanks to a grant from a big box giant.

The Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy VI (Kappa 6), a middle school program housed at the Far Rockaway Educational Campus, and Public School 161 Arthur Ashe were awarded $100,000 grants by the Target Corporation, as part of a competition promoted through “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The money comes with no restrictions, providing the principal and staff with extra money for programs and to buy vital support equipment such as computers and iPads.

Both schools were able to convince Target officials that their schools were special enough — and needy enough — to be chosen from all the submissions.

In the end, 48 schools and 2 school districts from across the nation were given $100,000 grants.

Gary DuMornay, the principal of Kappa 6 — who is known as the “commandant” at this military-style middle school — said that the grant money would mainly be used to improve the students’ reading ability. The school will invest in an upgraded reading selection and new reading programs, he said, and improvements to the school’s computers.

“The current computers were donated just under six years ago,” he told the New York Times.

The competition ran from November 25 to January 4. Schools were asked to submit a compelling story that illustrated why it deserved a grant. In making their decisions, Target took into account factors like Title 1 eligibility, the percentage of students who qualified for reduced lunch and the unique needs of the school. The initiative was part of Target’s pledge to donate $1 billion in education-related giving by 2015, said Jill Hornbacher, a spokesperson for Target.

“We’ve reached out to the winning schools and hope that they will keep us updated about their progress,” she said.

Kappa VI is one of the smaller school units that was created by the Department of Education and Mayor Michael Bloomberg when Far Rockaway High School was closed down a few years ago.

In2010,theschoolgotaConits progress report. In 2011, however, it earned an A even though less than half of its students were reading at standard level. According to Inside Schools, the school has 250 students, is modeled after the Air Force philosophy of leadership training.

The sixth- through eighth-grade students, who are called cadets, wear blue uniforms. They march into classes, which are called squadrons and named after space missions: Atlantis, Apollo, Endeavor.

DuMornay told The Times that the school’s entry for the contest was prepared by “members of our community who care, including two teachers,” and that the parents were among the first to hear about the win during a PTA meeting.

“We’re really unique in that sense,” he said, adding that the parents are very involved through the school leadership teams and the PTA. “They were very thrilled. They were also very proud. We are all certainly proud of our kids.”

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